May 24th, 2009

Kitty: Angry Calico

Allred, Katherine: Close Encounters

Close Encounters (2009)
Written by: Katherine Allred
Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Pages: 356

The premise: Kiera Smith is a Genetically Engineered Person who was commissioned by the Bureau of Alien Affairs to handle extraordinary assignments involving alien races, and her creator decided to add something special to the mixture, making Kiera one-of-a-kind even among her own kind. She'd give anything to be normal, even though it's not meant to be, a point driven home by the fact she's suddenly very, very comfortable among the Buri, an alien race who's facing extinction for no discernible reason why. Kiera must find out what's going on, especially before the Dynatec Corporation takes advantage of the dying race and takes over the planet. But to do so, not only must Kiera accept that she's different and unique, but she must accept her feelings for the Buri leader Thor, as well as embrace a power that could easily overwhelm her and destroy everything she holds dear.

My Rating

Give It Away: it's an odd book to review, because I liked the science fictional elements (though this isn't hard SF by any stretch of the word), but the romance didn't really work for me, and I consider this book to be a romance first and an SF novel second. I found this book in the SF/Fantasy section of my store, but I suspect it'd do better if it were shelved in the Romance section. Not because it has romance IN it, but because I feel romance readers will enjoy this book more, whereas SF readers might feel tricked into reading something that's more romance than not. It's an odd formula: readers of SFR who want SF first and Romance second, like me, will probably have issues with this book, especially with the heroine (who completely fails as an anthropologist), but readers of SFR who want Romance first and SF second will probably be able to push aside their disbelief and enjoy it as it is. If you like SF and don't want romance in it at all, skip this book and don't even consider it. Because while the SF-nal plot is enjoyable and actually more substantial than I expected it to be, the romance detracts from it on the whole, even though in truth, the two genres marry decently well within the pages. Not as well as, say, Catherine Asaro or Ann Aguirre or even Sandra McDonald, but well enough. It's an enjoyable book that reads SUPER FAST and will entertain you, even if you want to smack the heroine like I did. Will I read more books in this series? Possibly. It'll depend on my mood, and there's other SFR authors I like better, so they get priority.

Review style: Once again, I've divided the full review into two categories: what I liked and what I didn't. As far as spoilers go, I can't NOT talk about this book without spoilers, do not continue to my LJ to read the rest of the review.


Happy Reading!
Kitty: Angry Calico

Martin, George R.R.: Hunter's Run

Hunter's Run (2008)
Written by: George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, Daniel Abraham
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 288

The premise: after a really, REALLY bad night at the bar, Ramón Espejo has to flee into the wilderness of the planet São Paulo. He hopes he can spend a few months in peace while prospecting the landscape for a lucky strike, but everything turns into a nightmare when his blast reveals a group of aliens in hiding, aliens that will stop at nothing to keep their presence on this planet a secret.

My Rating

Worth the Cash: for a book written by three people, it's pretty seamless, and the Afterword and Author Q&A sections at the end are a must, because they really shed light on the process it took to get this book written, as well as the motivations of the authors and what each author brought to the table. The story itself is solid and stand-alone, and if you're a fan of anti-heroes, you're gonna like Ramón Espejo in spite of everything he does to convince you otherwise. I love how this book is populated by colonists from Mexican and South America, and how the aliens are truly alien, almost to the point you wish they were a little more human so you could understand them better. But in the end, this story is a journey story: a outer one, in which Ramón is on a manhunt and fighting for his very survival, and an inner one, in which Ramón is forced to examine who and what he is and come to grips with himself in ways that most characters in most books don't have to do. It's a satisfying read, and I'm glad I took a chance on it.

Review style: once again, I'll divide the review into what I liked and what I didn't. PLEASE NOTE: the "what I like" section will contain NO spoilers, whereas the "what I didn't like" section WILL contain spoilers.

The full review may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome.

REVIEW: HUNTER'S RUN by George R.R. Martin, Gardner Dozois, and Daniel Abraham

Happy Reading!